The year was 1999. It was the final 365 days before the Millennium and with the fear of Y2K before us, it felt like anything could happen. Maybe it was the fear that the world was going to end or just a certain amount of “carpe diem” creeping into the system but it seemed like music tastes were all over the place. Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys led the pop charge and dominated the TRL era. Latin music exploded thanks to Ricky Martin. Meanwhile, punk decided to go punk, rap decided to go rock and R&B decided to kick men to the curb. It was a year all onto itself and these are the biggest moments turning 15 as we roll into 2014.
Blink-182 Goes From Punk to Pop
Following the success of “Dammit,” Blink-182 went back into the studio to record Enema of the State. The album was an immediate success, making the group the kings of pop punk in 1999. The first three singles, “What’s My Again?,” “All The Small Things,” and “Adam’s Song,” all became staples on Total Request Live and helped develop the group’s signature parody mentality only to become parodied by Eminem a year later.
Women Dominate the Grammy Awards
The 41st annual Grammy Awards was commonly referred to as the “Year of Women” in the press. Lauryn Hill, Madonna, Shania Twain, Sheryl Crow and Garbage (fronted by Shirley Manson) were nominated for Album of the Year. Meanwhile, Hill led the pack five wins, Madonna took home three and Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain followed up with two apiece.
Jennifer Lopez Starts Singing
Even though Lopez was a rising star in Hollywood, she risked it all with her debut album, On the 6th. To the surprise of many critics, the album was a huge success. Her lead single, “If You Had My Love,” became the 12th biggest song of the year and “Waiting For Tonight” quickly became the anthem of millennium celebrations.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers Return
Following an 8-year hiatus, the Red Hot Chili Peppers finally returned with guitarist John Frusciante and released a new album, Californication. Produced by Rick Rubin (who later became the go-to producer for reviving careers), the album went on to sell over 5 million copies in the U.S. “Scar Tissue” became a huge hit on the radio and TRL and was eventually won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
Backstreet Boys Sell 9 million+
As a marker of the group’s biggest year, the Backstreet Boys sold over 9 million copies of Millennium, which was later nominated for the Grammy’s Album of the Year. The group became megastars in 1999, appearing on every cover, red carpet, award show, every TRL countdown and shut down Times Square.